Without strong law and order judges, the work of police officers is futile. When judges issue lenient sentences or low bonds to violent criminals, police officers are often forced to confront those same dangerous individuals again, thus leading to increased risk on the job. Here are just a few examples of judges who issued extremely low sentences and bonds to dangerous criminals.
Salem judge sentences heroin dealer to probation
In June of 2018, a Massachusetts judge faced impeachment over his sentencing of a heroin dealer who also happened to be an illegal immigrant. Judge Timothy Q. Feeley sentenced Manuel Soto-Vittin to two years of probation after his conviction in a 2015 heroin and cocaine dealing charges.
In a pre-sentencing hearing, Judge Feeley stated that were Soto-Vittini a U.S. citizen, he would have sentenced him to jail time. However, Judge Feeley stated that Soto-Vinni’s conviction would mean he would be deported from the United States which is why he opted for the lenient sentence of probation rather than jail time. Soto-Vinni was not deported because, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement, his conviction was “just under the legal threshold” to trigger deportation. So, thanks to Judge Feeley, a convicted heroin dealer was released back into the Salem community.
Child rapist gets probation in Oklahoma
In February of 2018, a convicted child rapist in Oklahoma was sentenced to 15 years… of probation. Benjamin Lawrence Petty pled guilty to first degree rape and forcible sodomy of a 13 year old girl following his arrest. Petty, who is blind, was issued the light sentence by Judge Wallace Coppedge partially on the basis of his disability. An online petition to remove Judge Wallace received over 60,000 signatures from outraged citizens. Judge Wallace, however, remains on the bench.
Murder suspect gets signature bond, flees before trail
U.S. Marshals working in conjunction with Milwaukee law enforcement captured accused murderer Dwayne Chaney after a 48-hour manhunt that left the city on edge. Shortly after the start of his murder trial, Mr. Chaney was able to flee from justice after being released on a signature bond by Judge Carolina Stark. A signature bond is a promise made by the defendant to appear in court under threat of monetary penalty. Chaney was also ordered to wear a court-issued tracking bracelet to ensure he would not flee. Shortly after being released on signature Bond, Chaney cut off his ankle bracelet and was on the run once again and Milwaukee police were forced to track him down again.
As citizens, we have a duty to hold lenient judges accountable and that means becoming informed and engaged in judicial elections in our communities. To combat crime and keep police officers safe, we must stop electing judges who perpetuate the problem of crime with their leniency.
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